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Healthy Aging

There are many different strategies for maintaining one's health; sometimes it gets overwhelming to focus on several issues all at once.  There are five top research backed ways to remain healthy, both physically and mentally and these are to exercise, manage stress, have proper nutrition, get adequate sleep, and stay active both mentally and socially.

Man in yellow shirt bending over and stretching one hand down, the other hand pointing upward.

Exercise

The benefits of regular exercise for people of all ages have been well established. Regular exercise is associated with decreased death and/or disability from pathologies such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and pulmonary disease. It is also associated with positive psychological benefits such as decreased depression and improved quality of life.

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 A man is leaning on his desk holding his head as he looks at the computer that is sitting on the desk in front of him.

Stress

Everybody experiences stress. It's the body's natural reaction to tension, pressure and change. A certain amount of stress makes life challenging and less boring, but too much can be bad for you– both physically and mentally. Prolonged stress can lead to accidental injury or serious health problems. For the sake of your health, safety and happiness, it's important to recognize and manage stress before it does you harm.

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 Two red apples sitting on a blue plate.

Nutrition

Your body changes as you age, but those changes don't have to lead to health problems or limit your independence, energy or enthusiasm for the activities you enjoy. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can prevent certain health problems and keep chronic conditions from getting worse. Combined with physical activity, eating nutritious foods in the right amounts can help keep you healthy. 

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Bunk beds that show a boy sleeping in the bottom bunk and a girl sleeping in the top bunk.

Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), approximately 74% of American adults experience a sleeping problem more than once a week, 39% get less than seven hours of sleep each weeknight, and 37% are so sleepy during the day that it interferes with their daily activities. In the past century, we have dramatically reduced our average time in sleep. Though our society has changed, our brains and bodies have not. Sleep deprivation is becoming a national problem.

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Cartoon picture of older couple with arms around each other and smiling. The man is holding a cane.

Staying Active

Social activity makes physical and mental activity more fun, as well as reduces stress levels. As result, healthy connections among brain cells are better maintained. People who maintain strong social connections with friends, loved ones and confidants also have lower risks of just about every type of illness, including heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Left unchecked, older adults who lose meaningful relationships and engagement with people are greater risk of becoming depressed, marginalized by society, losing their physical and mental vitality, and becoming at greater risk for long term care.

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